Belarus crisis may not work out as Putin hopes, Shelin says.

Many in Moscow are suggesting that the Belarus crisis will work in Vladimir Putin’s favor, leaving the isolated Alyaksandr Lukashenka to agree to any unification plans the Kremlin leader cares to dictate and making Putin look good internationally in comparison to his Belarusian partner, Sergey Shelin says.

Those things are possible but not necessarily going to happen, the Rosbalt commentator says, because there is the very real possibility that “events may get out of control” and leave Putin with neither of the two goals he so obviously believes are now within his grasp.

If Europe limits its sanctions on Belarus to air traffic, “Minsk’s annual losses will amount to one or two billion dollars,” Shelin continues.

“That is a lot” given that the Belarusian GDP is only about 60 billion US dollars. But what is critical in the current situation is that “Moscow will have to compensate its ally for this loss.”

Given that the Kremlin won’t dip into its reserve funds for that, it will have to extract even more money from the population.

And if the Europeans block all Belarusian transit trade as some have threatened, Belarus would suffer a loss of up to 10 billion US dollars, a horrific amount for Moscow to have to make up.

And this isn’t a one-off payment that Moscow will have to make this year but never again. Apparently, even in the union state, Belarus is to remain a separate country and thus subject to sanctions. And that means that within Putin’s Union state, Belarus will “simply be transformed into a domestic Russian problem.”

That in turn makes the fusion of the two countries “an extremely risky improvisation with unforeseen economic and political zigzags,” with costs that Putin as so often in the past with Crimea and the Donbas does not appear to have taken into consideration but may be forced to if he goes ahead.

At the same time, Putin’s hope to win points with the West over Belarus is plausible only if the Kremlin leader is willing and able to demand that Roman Protasevich be released or, even better, that Lukashenka be removed and replaced with “something more normal.” But that comes with its own price as well.

Nevertheless, Putin must recognize that for the EU, the issue of the forcible downing of its airplane is an internal affair, something its member states feel far more intensely than he may have imagined.

And indeed, Putin and his regime have been backing away from the bold statements of support for Lukashenka they made earlier.

Before 2014, that would have been enough for the Europeans and would have “born fruit” for Putin. “But let us ask ourselves: is his regime capable just now of separating itself from such a spiritually close” regime as Lukashenka’s going to be enough to satisfy Brussels? The answer is far from certain.

Further reading: World must respond as strongly as possible to “Belarusian Milošević” – Ukrainian NGOs

Putin is hardly likely to go as far as “disavowing Lukashenka or convincing him to release the victim. But it is clear” that the Kremlin now recognizes it has to do something along those lines if the leader is to win points with the Europeans and the West more generally. Just changing tone is no longer enough, Shelin says.

The fact that Lukashenka delayed his announced visit to Putin for a day suggests that something is going on, the Rosbalt commentator says. Putin clearly is prepared to pay some price for his ties with Minsk. “But with only three weeks until his meeting with Biden, he is trying to ensure that the airplane scandal won’t burst out.”

“That is the entire strategy” the Kremlin has, Shelin concludes. “But even it may not be enough.”

Read More:

Ukraine needs independent journalism. And we need you. Join our community on Patreon and help us better connect Ukraine to the world. We’ll use your contribution to attract new authors, upgrade our website, and optimize its SEO. And plus, the International Renaissance Foundation will double the money that our patrons will collect by 14 June -- so your contribution and impact will be multiplied! For as little as the cost of one cup of coffee a month, you can help build bridges between Ukraine and the rest of the world, plus become a co-creator and vote for topics we should cover next. Become a patron or see other ways to support. Become a Patron!

Related

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Euromaidan Press

News and Opinion from Ukraine and Europe on Military and Political Developments.

http://euromaidanpress.com/

Related news
Jailed Russian Activist Fined Over 'Foreign Agent' Law.

Jailed Russian Activist Fined Over 'Foreign Agent' Law.

The jailed former executive director of the pro-democracy Open Russia movement has been fined for failing to provide details of a group he established in 2017 that was added to the "foreign agents" registry.

Radio Free Europe

Andrew Yang explains why he's joining forces with opponent.

Andrew Yang explains why he's joining forces with opponent.

New York mayoral candidate Andrew Yang tells CNN's Wolf Blitzer why he is joining forces with other candidates and campaigning alongside them. #CNN #News

Democrat lawmaker exposed as being member of an all-white beach club.

Democrat lawmaker exposed as being member of an all-white beach club.

Fox News contributor Raymond Arroyo joins Laura Ingraham for a midweek edition of 'Seen and Unseen' discussing Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse's membership to a Rhode Island beachclub. #FoxNews #Ingraham Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: W...

Father goes viral for take down of 'toxic' critical race theory.

Father goes viral for take down of 'toxic' critical race theory.

Illinois father Ty Smith joins 'The Ingraham Angle' to discuss the toxic ideology of critical race theory. #FoxNews #Ingraham Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all-en...

Tibet's culture in peril after 70 years of Chinese rule - DW News.

Tibet's culture in peril after 70 years of Chinese rule - DW News.

With so many regions and people facing pressure from the Chinese state, whether from the weekly chipping away of civil liberties in Hong Kong to the mass detention of the persecuted ethnic Uyghur population or Chinese military jets flying closer a...

1

New Iranian President Says He Won’t Meet with Biden.

New Iranian President Says He Won’t Meet with Biden.

Biden administration says Raisi is not the one in charge

Gowdy: Media can't tell difference between arsonist, peaceful protestor.

Gowdy: Media can't tell difference between arsonist, peaceful protestor.

'Special Report' All-Star panel discuss Biden's plan to address spike in crime. #FoxNews Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all-encompassing news service delivering br...